SF 689 / HF 1270 (Local recreation grant funding provided, bonds issued, and money appropriated) – Authored by Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point) and Rep. John Poston (R-Lake Shore), this bill appropriates state bonding money to the Outdoor Recreation Grant Program and the Local Trail Connections Program.
Legislation of Interest
HF 247 (Limitations on land acquisition purchase price) – Authored by Rep. Steve Green (R-Fosston), this bill would prohibit political subdivisions from acquiring land at a price higher than the county-assessed value. The DNR already faces such a restriction and it causes problems because the county assessed value is usually lower than the market value. It is too early to say whether this bill will advance at all. Rep. Green introduced a number of such restrictive bills in the past, and few advanced.
SF 174 (Authorization for park fees) – Authored by Sen. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids), this bill contains a general authorization for local governments to acquire and develop land for parks and trails and to institute a fee to help pay for it.
HF 562/SF 1117 (Parks and Trails Department established, authority transferred, report required, and rulemaking authorized) – Authored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) and Sen. Chris Eaton (DFL-Brooklyn Center), this bill would create a new state agency for parks & trails, separate from the DNR. Of particular concern to the GMPT is a provision that would change how Legacy funding is awarded for Greater Minnesota. Rather than reporting directly to the Legislature as set forth in statute, the recommendations would be made by the new Commissioner of Parks & Trails, removing Greater Minnesota’s autonomy.
HF 499 (Urban bicycle lane use permit and bicycle safety education program established, fee imposed, and money appropriated) – Authored by Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron), this bill would severely limit who could ride bicycles in bike lanes throughout the state. Under this proposal, to ride in a bike lane in an urban district, a person would need to be at least 15 years old, take a course designed by the Commissioner of Public Safety and pass a test after that course. Some of our cities have areas constituting an “urban district”, which is an area that is at least one-fourth of a mile long where the buildings (homes, businesses) are no more than 100 feet apart and thus would have their bike lanes subject to these rules. For GMPT members who have lanes leading to their parks or trails, this could be a concern.